The ‘Problem of Evil’ has been the focus of a number of articles in Think. Here, Timothy Chambers offers an unusual perspective on this seemingly intractable difficulty facing theists. ‘Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the poor? But when I looked for good, evil came; and when I waited for light, darkness came.’.
"[T]he richness of his analysis, [...] his poststrucuralist emphasis on genealogy, historicity, temporality, and discourse can supplement the sometimes arid terms of the agency/structure debate. [...] An invitation to readers who might not normally turn to Continental theory for methodological inspiration, to learn from Chamber's splendid, and, yesy, timely volume." -Diana Coole, Queen Mary University of London , from a book review in the June 04 Perspectives The standard, linear view of history is founded on the belief that political outcomes (...) are predetermined by what has gone before. This book challenges this view, arguing for what Samuel A. Chambers calls an untimely politics which renders the past problematic and the future unpredictable. This pathbreaking argument is advanced through a close reading of key texts in political theory and by entering into debates involving metaphysics, philosophy of language, and psychoanalysis versus discursive analysis. Chambers focuses on the theme of the relevance of language analysis to political debate, answering those critics who insist discourse approaches to politics are irrelevant. Heidegger, Nietzsche, Foucault and Derrida are used to challenge the political burden which is placed on language analysis to prove its value in the real world. Drawing from political theory and cultural studies Chambers takes on the same-sex marriage debate, showing how the use and misuse of language has contributed to an impasse that is not likely to be broken. Wide ranging and insightful, Untimely Politics makes a timely plea for a more politically relevant and culturally engaged form of intellectual engagement. (shrink)
Whistleblowing is a subject which seizes the media headlines from time to time, and nowhere is such a dilemma of conscience more sensitive than in the area of finance and internal auditing. Additionally, professional organisations are sometimes felt to be less than supportive of their members who occasionally resort to whistlelowing. But how does it look from inside the auditing profession? Professor Chambers is a director of The Institute of Internal Auditors Inc., and a member of the Internal Auditing (...) Standards Board. He is Professor of Audit & Control at the University of Hull, and since 1991 he has chaired the Professional Standards & Guidelines Committee of IIA . He is author of several books and a former Dean of the Business School of City University, London. In 1991 he established Management Audit Ltd., The Water Mill, Moat Lane, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EU, which specialises in services to boards, audit committees and internal auditors. This article was originally presented to the 54e Conférence Internationale of The Institute of Internal Auditors, Inc., organised by the Institut Francais des Auditeurs Consultants Internes. Except where otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this article are those of the author. (shrink)
Originally published anonymously in 1844, Vestiges proved to be as controversial as its author expected. Integrating research in the burgeoning sciences of anthropology, geology, astronomy, biology, economics, and chemistry, it was the first attempt to connect the natural sciences to a history of creation. The author, whose identity was not revealed until 1884, was Robert Chambers, a leading Scottish writer and publisher. Vestiges reached a huge popular audience and was widely read by the social and intellectual elite. It sparked (...) debate about natural law, setting the stage for the controversy over Darwin's Origin. In response to the surrounding debate and criticism, Chambers published Explanations: A Sequel, in which he offered a reasoned defense of his ideas about natural law, castigating what he saw as the narrowness of specialist science. With a new introduction by James Secord, a bibliography of reviews, and a new index, this volume adds to Vestiges and Explanations Chambers's earliest works on cosmology, an essay on Darwin, and an autobiographical essay, raising important issues about the changing meanings of popular science and religion and the rise of secular ideologies in Western culture. (shrink)
Culture After Humanism asks what happens to the authority of traditional Western modes of thought in the wake of postcolonial theory. Iain Chambers investigates moments of tension, interruptions which transform our perception of the world and test the limits of language, art and technology. In a series of interlinked discussions, ranging in focus from Susan Sontag's novel The Volcano Lover to the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, Jimi Hendrix and Baroque architecture and music, Chambers weaves together a critique of (...) Western humanism, exploring issues of colonization and migration, language and identity. Culture After Humanism offers a new approach to cultural history, a 'post-humanist' perspective which challenges our sense of a world in which the subject is sovereign language, the transparent medium of its agency, and truth, the product of reason. (shrink)
Recent conversation has blurred two very different social epistemic phenomena: echo chambers and epistemic bubbles. Members of epistemic bubbles merely lack exposure to relevant information and arguments. Members of echo chambers, on the other hand, have been brought to systematically distrust all outside sources. In epistemic bubbles, other voices are not heard; in echo chambers, other voices are actively undermined. It is crucial to keep these phenomena distinct. First, echo chambers can explain the post-truth phenomena in (...) a way that epistemic bubbles cannot. Second, each type of structure requires a distinct intervention. Mere exposure to evidence can shatter an epistemic bubble, but may actually reinforce an echo chamber. Finally, echo chambers are much harder to escape. Once in their grip, an agent may act with epistemic virtue, but social context will pervert those actions. Escape from an echo chamber may require a radical rebooting of one's belief system. (shrink)
I propose to study one problem for epistemic dependence on experts: how to locate experts on what I will call cognitive islands. Cognitive islands are those domains for knowledge in which expertise is required to evaluate other experts. They exist under two conditions: first, that there is no test for expertise available to the inexpert; and second, that the domain is not linked to another domain with such a test. Cognitive islands are the places where we have the fewest resources (...) for evaluating experts, which makes our expert dependences particularly risky. -/- Some have argued that cognitive islands lead to the complete unusability of expert testimony: that anybody who needs expert advice on a cognitive island will be entirely unable to find it. I argue against this radical form of pessimism, but propose a more moderate alternative. I demonstrate that we have some resources for finding experts on cognitive islands, but that cognitive islands leave us vulnerable to an epistemic trap which I will call runaway echo chambers. In a runaway echo chamber, our inexpertise may lead us to pick out bad experts, which will simply reinforce our mistaken beliefs and sensibilities. (shrink)
I approach the study of echo chambers from the perspective of veritistic social epistemology. A trichotomous belief model is developed featuring a mechanism by which agents will have a tendency to form agreement in the community. The model is implemented as an agent-based model in NetLogo and then used to investigate a social practice called Impartiality, which is a plausible means for resisting or dismantling echo chambers. The implementation exposes additional factors that need close consideration in an evaluation (...) of Impartiality. In particular, resisting or dismantling echo chambers requires the selection of sufficiently low levels of doxastic entrenchment, but this comes with other tradeoffs. (shrink)
In this article I present two arguments from Brian Hebblethwaite for the conclusion that multiple incarnations are impossible, as well as the analyses of those arguments provided by three other thinkers: Oliver Crisp, Peter Kevern, and Robin Le Poidevin. I argue that both of Hebblethwaite's arguments are unsound.
One of the most important problems of twentieth century analytic philosophy concern the place of the mind – and in particular, of consciousness and intentionality – in a physical universe. Brian Loar’s essays in the philosophy of mind in this volume include his major contributions in this area. His central concern was how to understand consciousness and intentionality from the subjective perspective, and especially, how to understand subjectivity in a physical universe. He was committed to the reality and reliability (...) of the subjective perspective; and he found that subjective phenomena like intentionality and consciousness are, in a certain sense, ineliminable and irreducible to objective ones. At the same time he believed that intentionality and consciousness are grounded in the physical. One of his great contributions was showing how to reconcile these two positions by being a conceptual and explanatory anti-reductionist about both consciousness and intentionality but a metaphysical reductionist nonetheless. He had a deep commitment to both physicalism and to the reality and significance of the subjective point of view. (shrink)
Essays on Wittgensteinian Themes Dedicated to Brian McGuinness Joachim Schulte, Göran Sundholm. PREFACE For thirty-five years the international community of philosophers have known Brian McGuinness as a major authority on the ...
Human beings are peculiar. In laboratory experiments, they often cooperate in one-shot prisoners’ dilemmas, they frequently offer 1/2 and reject low offers in the ultimatum game, and they often bid 1/2 in the game of divide-the-cake All these behaviors are puzzling from the point of view of game theory. The first two are irrational, if utility is measured in a certain way.1 The last isn’t positively irrational, but it is no more rational than other possible actions, since there are infinitely (...) many other Nash equilibria besides the one in which both players bid 1/2. At the same time, these behaviors seem to indicate that people are sometimes inclined to be cooperative, fair, and just. In his stimulating new book, Brian Skyrms sets himself the task of showing why these inclinations evolved, or how they might have evolved, under the pressure of natural selection. The goal is not to justify our ethical intuitions, but to explain why we have them.2.. (shrink)
How do we form aesthetic judgements? And how should we do so? According to a very prominent tradition in aesthetics it would be wrong to form our aesthetic judgements about a particular object on the basis of anything other than first-hand acquaintance with the object itself (or some very close surrogate) and, in particular, it would be wrong to form such judgements merely on the basis of testimony. Further this tradition presupposes that our actual practice of forming aesthetic judgements typically (...) meets, or at least approximates, this ideal. In this paper I target this descriptive claim and argue—by appeal to some empirical work concerning belief polarization and echo chambers in aesthetics—that our actual practice of forming aesthetic judgements is heavily dependent on social sources such as testimony. I then briefly consider what normative implications this descriptive claim may have. (shrink)
Brian Z. Tamanaha has written extensively on realism in jurisprudence, but in his Realistic Theory of Law (2018), he uses "realism" in a commonplace way to ground a rough outline of legal history. While he refers to his method as genealogical, he does not acknowledge the complex tensions in the development of the philosophical use of that term from Nietzsche to Foucault, and the complex epistemological issues that separate them. While the book makes many interesting points, the methodological concerns (...) outweigh them in the overall assessment of the value of the work. (shrink)
As the author of Justice as Impartiality, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted by the liveliness of the discussion generated by it at the meeting on which this symposium is based. I am likewise grateful to the six authors for finding the book worthy of the careful attention that they have bestowed on it. Between them, the symposiasts take up many more points than I can cover in this response. I shall therefore focus on some themes (...) that cluster round the contractual device that I associate with the notion of justice as impartiality. Is it necessary? If it is not necessary is it nevertheless useful? Within an overall contractual framework is the form of contract that I propose uniquely justifiable? And does the form of contract that I defend generate the implications that I claim for it? (shrink)
In teaching jurisprudence, I typically distinguish between two different families of theories of adjudication—theories of how judges do or should decide cases. “Formalist” theories claim that the law is “rationally” determinate, that is, the class of legitimate legal reasons available for a judge to offer in support of his or her decision justifies one and only one outcome either in all cases or in some significant and contested range of cases ; and adjudication is thus “autonomous” from other kinds of (...) reasoning, that is, the judge can reach the required decision without recourse to nonlegal normative considerations of morality or political philosophy. I also note that “formalism” is sometimes associated with the idea that judicial decision-making involves nothing more than mechanical deduction on the model of the syllogism—Beccaria, for example, expresses such a view. I call the latter “Vulgar Formalism” to emphasize that it is not a view to which anyone today cares to subscribe. (shrink)
William Hasker replies to my arguments against Social Trinitarianism, offers some criticism of my own view, and begins a sketch of another account of the Trinity. I reply with some defence of my own theory and some questions about his.
In "Some Criticism of the Contextual Approach, and a Few Proposals" in Biological Theory, Brian McLoone discusses some of the points about the contextual approach that I made in a recent paper. Besides offering a reply to McLoone’s comments on my paper, in this article I show why McLoone’s discussion of the two main frameworks for thinking about group selection—the contextual and the Price approach—is partly misguided. In particular, I show that one of McLoone’s main arguments against the contextual (...) approach is missing the target and that one of his (and Elliott Sober’s) arguments in defense of the Price approach is flawed. Criticizing these arguments will help me present an entirely different picture than McLoone’s of the current status of multilevel selection theory. More precisely, I argue that the idea that we are dealing with "multilevel selection" in the type of multigroup cases in which the focal units are the individuals (and their traits) has recently come under threat. Finally, I discuss the ways in which this idea might be salvaged by appealing either to the contextual or to the Price approach. (shrink)
Forty years after the beginning of the Khmer Rouge regime, the recent Trial Chamber judgment in case 002/01 before Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia has provided legal recognition of the devastating violence of the forced population movements. However, despite the undoubted significance of the judgment, it represents a missed opportunity to more fully reflect issues of gender. The article argues that in order to capture the plurality of gendered experiences it is necessary to foreground a social understanding (...) of harm. Drawing on civil party oral testimony, the article begins to surface gendered experiences of the social harms of familial separation and starvation of family members, harms that have often remained silenced in international criminal law. In doing so it seeks to contribute to emerging feminist discourse on broader gendered harms and illustrates the need for further scrutiny of the approach of the ECCC. (shrink)
In a series of powerful and challenging articles emerging since the mid-1990s, Brian Leiter has argued that certain theoretical strains in contemporary legal philosophy are ‘epistemologically bankrupt’, in virtue of their reliance on misguided argumentative devices: analysing concepts, such as the concepts of law and of authority; and doing so by appealing to intuitions regarding the correct way to understand the concepts in question. In response to this state of affairs, Leiter advocates that jurisprudence ought to attempt to catch-up (...) with ‘naturalistic’ developments which have influenced the direction of other branches of philosophy – such as epistemology, philosophy of mind, and moral philosophy – in the last few decades. This article offers a critical analysis of some of Leiter’s proposals for what Jurisprudence should become, in light of his views on the relevance of naturalism for this discipline. (shrink)
In "the semantics of singular terms," brian loar described and criticized a "causal" theory of reference and offered a new "description" theory. It is argued that the particular causal theory described is not to be found in the papers by donnellan and kripke cited as evidence for it, And is a straw man. Further "prima facie", Loar's new description theory fails to meet kripke's noncircularity condition. Should loar attempt to meet it, His theory is likely to run foul of (...) kripke's usual "arguments from ignorance and error" against description theories. (shrink)
There has been a recent surge of evolutionary explanations of art. In this article I evaluate one currently influential example, Brian Boyd’s recent book On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. The book offers a stimulating collection of findings, ideas, and hypotheses borrowed from a wide range of research disciplines, brought together under the umbrella of evolution. However, in so doing Boyd lumps together issues that need to be separated, most importantly, organic and cultural evolution. In addition, (...) he fails to consider alternative explanations to art as adaptation such as exaptation and constraint. Moreover, the neurobiological literature suggests current evidence of biological adaptation for most of the arts is weak at best. Given these considerations, I conclude by proposing to regard the arts instead as culturally evolved practices building on pre-existing biological traits. (shrink)
Brian Trainor argues that the current hostility of political theorists towards the idea of the common good is in part due to the influence of Isaiah Berlin's concept of `value pluralism', or the incommensurability of basic human values. I agree with Trainor's opposition to the `agonistic' interpretation of pluralism, associated with thinkers like Chantal Mouffe. However, it is not the case that the only alternative to the pluralism— agonism thesis is the monist defence of a thick common good advocated (...) by Trainor. Between these extremes there is a middle way that accepts the deep plurality of values in Berlin's sense, but recognizes a case for a thin conception of the common good — that is, a liberal political framework. (shrink)
The experiences of many transitional justice mechanisms have led to a general consensus on the central importance of local legitimacy and local ownership; this indeed is repeatedly avowed by both the UN and the EU in their prescriptions on effective transitional justice mechanisms. Yet, I argue that the Kosovo Specialist Chambers was established in the absence of both. The court was not created in response to domestic pressure from within Kosovo; rather, it was the result of external pressure which (...) by definition compromised local ownership and legitimacy. Drawing on the findings from first-hand qualitative research, I demonstrate that the court’s local legitimacy has not improved since its establishment. This lack of legitimacy, I argue, has potentially negative implications as, without popular legitimacy, the court’s proceedings and judgements are unlikely to command sufficient public support to either catalyse the societal changes promised by the court’s external sponsors, or withstand opposition to the court from within the Kosovo Albanian population resulting from any perceived slight against the ‘heroic’ KLA. (shrink)
In ‘The ethics of belief and Christian faith as commitment to assumptions’, Rik Peels attacks the views that I advanced in ‘Christianity and the ethics of belief’. Here, I rebut his criticisms of the claim that it is wrong to believe without sufficient evidence, of the contention that Christians are committed to that claim, and of the notion of that faith is not belief but commitment to assumptions in the hope of salvation. My original conclusions still stand.
In his recent article, ‘A Gift to Theology? Jean-Luc Marion's ‘Saturated Phenomena’ in Christological Perspective’, Brian Robinette has critiqued Marion's phenomenology for confining theology to a one-sided approach to Christology, one that stresses only the passive, mystical reception of Christ. To correct this imbalance, Robinette brings Marion into dialogue with those more active Christologies or ‘prophetical-ethical’ liberation theologies of Gustavo Gutierrez, Johann Baptist Metz and others that stress a life-praxis focused on confronting evil and suffering. In this essay I (...) am arguing that Robinette has not fully developed the ‘logic’ of Marion's phenomenology of the ‘call and the gifted’, in which both a passive and an active element are operative. I explore more fully that very dynamic phenomenological process of the call-and-the-gifted as developed in Marion's work Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness. Once viewed in Christological perspective, and especially in light of Christ's death and resurrection, Marion's phenomenology entails an ethical trope consistent with the mission of Christ as rendered in Scriptural revelation, and thus the gap between Marion's work and the prophetical-ethical theologies of Gutierrez and Baptist Metz becomes narrowed. (shrink)
In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein proposes a bold new systematic strategy for developing social ontology. He explores the history and current state of the art and provides pointed critiques of leading theories in the field. His framework, incompassing frames that provide principles for grounding social facts, is developed in some detail across a variety of social practices and applied to revealing real world as well as hyporthetical examples. If Epstein's account holds, it should provide new directions and standards (...) of inquiry in both social sciecne and social philiosophy. (shrink)
Brian Loar argues that we can account for the conceptual independence of coextensive terms purely psychologically, by appealing to conceptual rather than semantic differences between concepts, and that this leaves room for assuming that phenomenal and physical concepts can be coextensive on a posteriori grounds despite the fact that both sorts of concepts refer directly . I argue that Loar does not remove the mystery of the coextensiveness of those concepts because he does not offer any explanation of why (...) they should be coextensive. Secondly, I argue that even if we grant that phenomenal and physical concepts can be coextensive on a posteriori grounds, we are committed to holding that there are two different and essential modes of presentation of phenomenal properties, the physical and the phenomenal, and that this precludes us from seeing phenomenal properties as essentially physical in an unrelativized sense. (shrink)
Brian Leiter and Peter Kail have delivered thoughtful critiques of my book, Nietzsche’s Naturalism: Philosophy and the Life Sciences in the Nineteenth Century.1 It is a great pleasure to respond to these critiques, since they raise some crucial issues with regard to Nietzsche’s understanding of naturalism and normativity. On the one hand, there are many areas of agreement: Nietzsche’s philosophical project is best understood along the lines of naturalism; developments in the nineteenth-century life sciences, broadly speaking, play a crucial (...) role in the formation of Nietzsche’s naturalism; and Nietzsche’s relationship to both Darwin and Darwin’s neo-Kantian interpreters is more complex than generally assumed. On the... (shrink)
I am grateful to Alan Madry and Joel Richeimer for their intelligent and stimulating critique of my article “Heidegger and the Theory of Adjudication.” It is the most interesting commentary I have seen on the paper, and I have learned much from it. It may facilitate discussion, and advance debate, to state with some clarity where exactly we agree and disagree. I leave to the footnotes discussion of certain minor points where Madry and Richeimer are guilty of some critical overreaching.
In this interview Prof. Brian Leftow answers questions concerning the causes of the emergence of Analytic Philosophical Theology within the analytic tradition; the advantages of maintaining the traditional picture of perfect being theology with regards to divine attributes; his conception about the origin of necessary truths; the problem of evil; and the importance for universities of investing in research on philosophical theology.